Mejía del Valle y Llequerica, José Joaquín (1775–1813)

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Mejía del Valle y Llequerica, José Joaquín (1775–1813)

José Joaquín Mejía del Valle y Llequerica (also Lequerica; b. 24 May 1775; d. 27 October 1813), spokesperson for the rights of colonial Americans under Spanish imperialism. Mejía, a native of Quito, served as a substitute delegate of the Viceroyalty of New Granada to the Cortes of Cádiz (1810–1814). He ably led the American delegation in their struggle for equal representation in both the congress and the subsequent new constitution. The problem was population: That of Spain at this time was about 10.5 million, whereas that of Spain's overseas holdings totaled about 15-16.9 million. However, only whites enjoyed full citizenship in Spain and its colonies, and the New World had far fewer whites (2.5-3.2 million) than did Spain (10.5 million). Naturally, Spain was utterly unwilling to surrender political control of its empire to overseas whites.

During the Cádiz debates, Mejía advanced a proposal that the New World's free blacks and Indians, if not its slaves, be counted for purposes of proportional representation. The Cortes agreed to include creoles, Indians, and mestizos, but not Africans and mulattoes. Most historians agree that Mejía was the best orator in Cádiz. He died during a yellow fever epidemic in Cádiz.

See alsoCaste and Class Structure in Colonial Spanish America .


On events in Spain and at the Cortes of Cádiz, see Timothy E. Anna, Spain and the Loss of America (1983).

Additional Bibliography

Comenge, Rafael. Antología de las cortes de Cádiz. Pamplona, Spain: Analecta Editorial, 2004.

Estrada Michel, Rafael. Monarquía y nación entre Cádiz y Nueva España: El problema de la articulación política de las Españas ante la revolución liberal y la emancipación Americana. México: Editorial Porrúa, 2006.

Morán Orti, Manuel and Miguel Artola. Las Cortes de Cádiz. Pamplona: Analecta Editorial, 2004.

                                  Ronn F. Pineo

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Mejía del Valle y Llequerica, José Joaquín (1775–1813)

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